GSK extends its $2.6 billion offer for Human Genome

Fri Jun 8, 2012 10:35am EDT
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By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote) has extended its $2.6 billion offer to buy long-time partner Human Genome Sciences HGSI.O until the end of June as it battles the U.S. biotech company's reluctant management.

The price remains unchanged at $13 a share under the longer tender, which will now expire at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) New York time on June 29, Britain's biggest drugmaker said on Friday.

The initial tender period ran out at midnight on June 7, by when GSK had secured less than 1 percent of Human Genome shares, which are trading at a premium to its offer.

People familiar with the situation had previously told Reuters that GSK was set to extend its tender offer - a direct appeal to Human Genome shareholders over the heads of management - as it begins a process to replace the entire Human Genome board with its own nominees.

The British company has already started reaching out to executives in the drug industry as well as finance and governance experts who could be nominated as independent directors of the 12-member board.

Sources said on May 30 that GSK intended to seek approval from Human Genome shareholders to replace the board under a "consent solicitation" process, which could come in the next few weeks. No details on the process were given on Friday.

Human Genome once again rejected GSK's bid as inadequate. It has launched an auction process, inviting GSK to participate, while at the same time adopting a "poison pill" shareholder rights plan in a bid to thwart the hostile takeover attempt.

The U.S. firm has had contacts with other companies and said on Friday that the process "continues to be active and fully underway". But no counterbidder to GSK has emerged and bankers say GSK has an advantage over rivals because of its partnerships around key drugs.   Continued...

Signage is pictured on the company headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline in west London July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville